The 'Lee Soo-man' chaos is deepening at SM and investors have begun expressing concern.

In the course of the deepening dispute between Kakao, HYBE, and Align Partners over SM management rights, the atmosphere inside SM is said to be "festering." Tens of billions of company money have reportedly been spent to respond to disputes and coffers are "empty" increasing concerns about the departure of members including artists. There are concerns that if the dispute is prolonged, the competitiveness of the company will be greatly reduced.

According to an insider from the investment banking industry on the 1st, SM's current management who defined HYBE's takeover as a "hostile acquisition" have spent an estimated tens of billions of won to defend their management rights. It's known that about 2.5 billion won was invested in hiring a strategy consulting firm Boston Consulting Group (BCG). In order to secure voting rights from shareholder friends, they've also hired 6 voting power agencies. Considering that such agencies usually employ one or two companies, this is an unprecedently large investment. These companies will be paid at least 1 billion to 2 billion won.

Employees have also been mobilized to collect voting rights. They're currently seeking a company that will serve as a "casting boat" to seek "requests [bribes]" from current management who will "raise their hand" when exercising their voting rights. Key executives including CEO Lee Sung-soo will hold business presentations in Hong Kong and Singapore to meet and persuade foreign investors.

During HYBE's tender offer period, SM also announced plans to buy back and retire treasury stock worth 63.5 billion won. The market is interpreting this move as way to make HYBE's tender offer "difficult" by inducing a rise in stock prices, although under the pretext of "strengthening" shareholder returns. There is also an incident where HYBE also immediately sent an official letter to a securities company to "block" the purchase of its stock.

In a chaotic situation where it's impossible to see even an inch ahead, many of the artists under the agency are set to renew their contracts. Kangta, BoA, TVXQ (Changmin and U-Know Yunho), Super Junior, Girls' Generation (Taeyeon, Yoona, Yuri, Hyoyeon, Sunny), SHINee, EXO, Red Velvet, NCT, SuperM, aespa etc. All SM artists excluding aespa have contracts set to expire between this year and next year. It's reported that some large agencies have begun sending "love calls" to those artists whose contracts are about to expire.

A bigger issue is that general shareholders, including institutional investors, want "prolonged disputes" to maximize profits. A fund manager revealed, "investors also agree that disputes should be settled as soon as possible to enhance corporate value. However, the dilemma for the capital market is that it may be a reasonable choice to continue the chaos and confusion regardless of company's competitiveness to boost stock prices in the short term."

  1. [+993, -143] SM is probably better off with only aespa so that they can focus on debuting their next female idol group. There are so many older idols just "eating" off the agency with nothing to show. Just look at how bad Johnny flopped.. as a sunbae you should realize when to quit and let your hoobaes have a chance instead. For how long does he think he can keep squeezing out flop albums.. I just don't understand why SM continues to allow this.
  2. [+556, -106] Aespa nugu.. is this a comedy? Are they even popular ㅋㅋㅋ? Every album after their debut album has flopped and they've been thrown to the back with each new girl group debuting hitting daebak in that time.
  3. [+234, -94] The rest of the groups are all outdated trash anyway, all they need is aespa.
  4. [+206, -24] SM needs to quit with promoting Chinese kids.. let the Chinese kids in aespa go or just disband the group!
  5. [+160, -11] Can SM kids even retain their color if they sign with other agencies? If it was about money they would've left for other agencies before all this drama. A bigger concern is that SM is going to lose its position in the industry with this scandal..
  6. [+62, -1] F*cking Kangta too ㅋㅋ? Who the hell is sending "love calls" to that old geezerㅋ
  7. [+51, -2] CEO Lee Sung-soo and other executives are even going all the way to Singapore and Hong Kong to attract more Chinese investments..?? What a strange company.
  8. [+68, -27] Kangta, BoA, TVXQ (Changmin, U-Know Yunho), Super Junior, SNSD (Taeyeon, Yoona, Yuri, Hyoyeon, Sunny), SHINee, EXO, Red Velvet, am I the only one who thinks none of them are needed at all?? ㅋㅋ
  9. [+36, -1] That SM welfare has been too good to them for a long time ㅋㅋㅋ they all even got solo albums out of it ㅋㅋ
  10. [+33, -0] I seriously never thought that SM kingdom was going to collapse so quickly like this.. I always thought they'd last forever. Everyone in SM needs to be worried right now, the company can become a shell in an instant.
  11. [+32, -4] But aespa is also on the road to disbandment already.. ㅋ
  12. [+15, -1] But aespa has flopped with everything since 'Next Level' though.. they're barely surviving with Karina's popularity.

CR: Daily NAVER Blog